The Suez Canal Authority said a bulk carrier that was briefly grounded in the vital waterway on Thursday was dislodged and being towed by three tug boats. Photo courtesy Suez Canal Authority
May 25 (UPI) -- A Hong Kong-flagged bulk container ship was briefly ground in the Suez Canal Thursday morning, bringing back worries of a 2021 incident that stalled traffic in the busy manmade waterway for nearly a week while affecting global commerce.
Shipping agent Leth Agencies said the bulk carrier Xin Hai Tong 23 grounded about 4 a.m., local time "leaving behind four vessels from the early convoy in addition to the ordinary group which was planned to enter Suez Canal at about [6 a.m.] Suez Canal tugs are currently trying tore-float the vessel."
Leth said the ship was freed nearly four hours later, allowing traffic to flow northbound again at 9:30 a.m.
Admiral Ossama Rabiee, the chairman of the Suez Canal Authority confirmed in a statement that the ship, which was traveling from Saudi Arabia to Egypt had been freed.
"The vessel is now being towed to the Suez Anchorage Area assisted by three tugs," the authority said.
The Suez Canal is one of the world's busiest waterways, connecting the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea through the Isthmus of Suez and dividing Africa and Asia.
In March 2021, the 200,000-ton Ever Given cargo ship was grounded in the Suez Canal for nearly a week before being pulled free and escorted out of the canal. The ship had become stuck in the canal during a sandstorm when it drifted into shallow waters and ran aground.
In January, a bulk carrier suffered an engine failure in the canal, but only cause minor traffic delays. The bulk vessel Glory was passing within the northern convoy of the canal when its engine failed. That ship was safely refloated by tug boats.